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Do you have questions about the Hatch Act? Do you need to report a Hatch Act violation? Reach out to the DLA General Counsel through Claes.Lewenhaupt@dla.mil.
This video gives an introduction to the Hatch Act, which restricts the political activity of some government employees. The video is from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which enforces the Hatch Act.
The Hatch Act of 1939 limits certain political activities of federal employees who work in connection with federally funded programs. The law ensures federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, protects federal employees from political coercion in the workplace, and ensures federal employees are promoted on merit and not political affiliation.
The Hatch Act protects DLA employees from coercion or other detrimental actions caused by political association, and it’s important to know which rules apply to you. Application of the rules varies depending on an employee’s position or office. Read more details in the DLA Workforce Reminder Guidance on Political Activity (PDF).
So what do you need to keep in mind?
It’s best to understand the limitations of the law before becoming involved in political activities. The Act applies if you participate in activities that are directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office or partisan political group. Also, the Hatch Act does not, in general, restrict your freedom of speech, but DLA employees interested in politics should take care to balance their interests in commenting upon matters of public concern as a citizen with the interests of the Agency and DoD, as an employer, in promoting the efficiency of the public services we performs.
This page is your resource to read more about how the Hatch Act applies to DLA employees, as well as to access more information and resources relating to the Hatch Act.
What is specifically prohibited by the Hatch Act for federal employees anytime?
Employees may not:
What is specifically prohibited by the Hatch Act within the workplace or while on duty (including telework from home)? Employees may not:
What is permitted outside the workplace and off duty? Employees may:
On social media, employees may not ever:
On social media, employees may not while on duty or at work (including telework from home):
On social media, employees may, at any time:
DoD encourages members of the armed forces to carry out the obligations of citizenship, including voting and encouraging others to vote. However, active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities and all military personnel will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign or cause.
A candidate for civil office will not be permitted to engage in campaign or election-related activities (e.g., public assemblies, town hall meetings, speeches, fund-raisers, press conferences, post-election celebrations, and concession addresses) while on a DoD installation, which includes overseas installations and areas under the control of combat or peacekeeping forces of the United States military.
A candidate who holds a civil office may visit a DoD installation or facility for the purpose of conducting official business (e.g., business not related to campaigning) or to access entitlements or benefits the candidate is authorized to use; however, no candidate running for office is permitted access for campaign or election purposes.
According to DoD policy, a political campaign or election begins when a candidate, including an incumbent officeholder, makes a formal announcement to seek political office or when an individual files for candidacy with the Federal Election Commission or equivalent regulatory office. Once initiated, a political campaign or election is not considered to have ended until one week after the conclusion of the relevant election.
DoD has a longstanding policy of encouraging military personnel to carry out the obligations of citizenship, and certain political activities are permitted, such as voting and making a personal monetary donation. However, active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities, and all military personnel will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign or cause.
Examples of political activities that are prohibited include campaigning for a candidate, soliciting contributions, marching in a partisan parade and wearing the uniform to a partisan event. For a complete list of permissible and prohibited activities, please consult DoD Directive 1344.10, Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces.
Unquestionably, service members can exercise their right to vote. However, active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities and will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval, or endorsement. For a list of permissible and prohibited activities, please consult DoD Directive 1344.10, Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces
DoD encourages all members of the Armed Forces and federal civilian employees to register and vote. The department actively supports the Federal Voting Assistance Program to ensure its personnel have the resources, time and ability to participate in their civic duty. Additionally, department leaders and military commanders appoint voting assistance officers at every level of command and ensure they are trained and equipped to provide voting assistance.
As of December 31, 2000, if an installation facility is designated as an official polling place by an election official or has been used as a polling place since January 1, 1996, installation commanders will not deny the use of that facility as a polling place for any election. The Secretary of Defense or the secretary of the military department concerned may grant a waiver of the requirement to allow use of the facility if it is determined that security is a concern. All members of the Armed Forces on active duty are instructed to remain clear of all polling places except when voting.
Yes, DoD provides voting assistance via the Federal Voting Assistance Program. FVAP works to ensure service members, their eligible family members and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so, from anywhere in the world, via https://www.fvap.gov. The services also provide voting assistance officers at the unit level to facilitate in-person assistance when required.